One Year, Three Months, Seventeen Days

October 1, 2008
By A. C., Dallas, TX

Sometimes, she still wakes up and expects to find him laying next to her in bed, a solid reassurance instead of a vague presence. But he's not, and it's sheets wrapped around her waist, not arms, and the sheets are cold, not warm like a human would be.

One year, three months, seventeen days. Seasons blend into each other, and time passes in a blur, yet every day passes by so slowly when he's not there. She walks like a ghost through winter, spring, summer, fall, winter again. A shell of a person that people pity, looked upon as just a woman who's lost a husband. She hates it.

It was all so sudden, people say. What a shame, he was such a bright boy, so sweet, they whisper behind hands. How do you think she's doing? they wonder when they think she's not listening.

It had been the longest moment of her life. A blinding flash of light, a screech (hers? The tires on pavement?), and so much blood. She remembered hearing before she'd opened her eyes. Hearing his name, said so apathetically, facts and statistics she couldn't handle, because he was dead. And then feeling nothing at all, except the innate desire to hear She's not going to make it.

They don't know anything. All they knew was that he had been a straight-A student, that he had started his own business. They didn't know all the little things. Like that he ran into walls in the morning, he was so groggy, and that he never managed more than grunts and “ah”s before his coffee.

She can't forget him, refuses to. Because it's been one year, three months, seventeen days. People are moving on, and she doesn't know why. The world shouldn't turn, the sun shouldn't rise and set, not when he's not by her.

She has to spend the days relearning sarcastic comments, smirks and teases that should come naturally. Has to try to act like the person she was before the accident. (Was it an accident? Fate? It doesn't really matter, though, so she doesn't think too much of it.)

The person before the accident was the person she is now – just a girl who needed him, only now she didn't have him. She can't bring him back, though, so she doesn't see the point.

He had eyes that saw more than they had any right to. But he had known, known everything before she'd had to say it. She liked it, that he understood everything she needed to say when she was silent.

She doesn't tell anyone, but she still sees him. Sitting on the couch, behind her as she writes. And it hurts, reaching out for dark locks and brushing air. Nothing's the same anymore, because he's gone, and that missing piece destroys the entire picture. She tries to hold his hand and grasps air, wants to hold him in the middle of the night and hugs a phantom of what used to be.

Green eyes the color of summer grass. Messy hair that never behaved. But things are starting to fade. Had she reached his shoulder or his chin? She tries to hold on, and the memories just run even faster as she tries to hold tighter, like catching smoke in her bare hands.

She hasn't changed a thing, hasn't touched anything of his, even though she should. There's still a coat draped across the couch and shoes thrown haphazardly in the doorway everyday she comes home, and half the time she thinks he might be in the bedroom, pretending to sleep when she knows he's waiting for her before he lets himself drift to sleep.

Every time she walks in and the bed's as cold and empty as it was in the morning, the ache in her heart just grows a little more.

But she still lays down, night after night, pressing her face into pillows that only smell like him one year, three months, and seventeen days ago, a whole other world entirely.

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